Today as I gazed longingly at the text-less screen of my phone, I realised that dating in the 2000’s is like a game of chicken. Which person can hold off long enough so that the other person doesn’t perceive them to be a big pile of neediness?
I am terrible at this game. Because if I see something I want I go for it. Why on earth wouldn’t I? This strategy works for me in my career and when I go shopping although admittedly, it doesn’t really work for keeping my credit card balance at zero. But mostly, it’s the way I do things.
We live in an age of instant gratification, there are very few things we have to wait for, including the sending and receiving of text messages. This can be done in an instant and takes no time at all, even for the least dexterous of daters out there. So even a slow texter can reply in seconds, rarely minutes. But it’s as time ticks by that we can work out whether someone likes us or not.
The brilliant Aziz Ansari, said about dating in modern times:
“The worst is when you meet someone you’re really into and you feel that connection, we both felt that, deep connection, no games. You send the first text, you’re all confident! Wrap it up, put it in a bag, put my name on it ‘cuz it’s done!” Three hours later and no response: “I put too many exclamations in my text! I should have said ‘hey’ with two y’s not three!”
I once asked a male friend about a woman he had just met. He had initially been interested in her but his interest had waned. How did you let her know, I asked him. He said, oh I just waited a few hours before responding to her text. How rude! It’s very difficult to tell someone you’re not interested but it’s better than leaving them hanging isn’t it? Or do we all just know now that a certain amount of time between texts means, absolutely, maybe or no thanks, not ever?
I am interested in someone at the moment. I don’t think he is as interested in me although we have agreed to meet up for a second date. But I cannot help but suspect if I had not put myself out there, I would not have heard from him again. I will know for sure next time I see him I think. He does take a very long time to reply to text messages.
To be honest I think I would prefer a return to the old fashioned way of doing things. Talking on the phone. It’s hard to convey tone via text and more often than not the message is mixed up and one or both parties get the wrong end of the stick. This rarely ends well.
I would have to say that with modern technology comes an element of being able to treat people with a little less thought and respect than you would do if you were dealing with them in person. Online dating means you can cast a person aside without ever having interacted with them and even if you do meet in person, the vast array of dating sites and apps means that discarding a date is quite painless when you know you’re just a click away from the next one.
Dating is hard. You don’t want to reveal your hand too early on but at the same time, you want to convey interest. In my 40’s I am so past game playing and “the rules” and yet I still seem to have to play this game of chicken every time I meet someone I might like.
I think the answer just might be, treat others how you wish to be treated. Be polite, behave respectfully, and respond to that text message in a timely fashion!